COVID-19 death toll in US has surpassed the number of Americans killed in WWI

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States has surpassed the number of Americans who were killed during WWI, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of June 22, more than 120,000 people had died due to COVID-19 in the U.S., surpassing the 116,516 American soldiers killed during WWI.

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Several other years-long wars in which the U.S. was involved resulted in far fewer deaths than the novel coronavirus has in just four months’ time:

-Vietnam: 58,220

-Korea: 36,574

-Afghanistan: 2,445

-Iraq: 4,431

The pandemic has taken a toll on life across the globe with a total death count of more than 469,000 as of June 22. It is projected that the number of deaths in the U.S. will double to 201,129 by Oct. 1, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The U.S. leads the world in number of confirmed cases with nearly 2.3 million as of June 22. More Americans have lost their lives to the virus than in any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Brazil is the next-worst affected country, with just under 1 million reported cases and more than 46,000 deaths as of June 22. Brazil is followed by Russia, with more than 552,500 reported cases, and India, with just under 367,000 reported cases.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached over 9 million worldwide as of June 22, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cases in Florida surpassed 100,000 on Monday, part of an alarming surge across the South and West as states reopen for business and many Americans resist wearing masks or keeping their distance from others.

Disturbing signs in the Sunshine State as well as places like Arizona, Alabama, Texas and South Carolina — along with countries such as Brazil, India and Pakistan — are raising fears that the progress won after months of lockdowns is slipping away.

“It is snowballing,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO and president of Houston Methodist Hospital, noting that the number of hospitalizations in the Texas Medical Center system that includes the hospital has more than doubled since Memorial Day. “If we don’t do what we can RIGHT NOW as a community to stop the spread, the virus will take our choices away from us.”

The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country per day has reached more than 26,000, up from about 21,000 two weeks ago, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The analysis looked at a seven-day rolling average through Sunday. “When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?" said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. “We’re in the first wave. Let’s get out of the first wave before you have a second wave.”

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In Orlando, 152 cases were linked to one bar near the University of Central Florida campus, said Dr. Raul Pino, a state health officer in the resort city.

“A lot of transmission happened there,” Pino said. “People are very close. People are not wearing masks. People are drinking, shouting, dancing, sweating, kissing and hugging, all the things that happen in bars. And all those things that happen are not good for COVID-19.”

Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization's emergencies chief, said that the outbreak is “definitely accelerating” in the U.S. and a number of other countries, dismissing the notion that the record daily levels of new COVID-19 cases simply reflect more testing. He noted that numerous countries have also noted marked increases in hospital admissions and deaths.

“The epidemic is now peaking or moving towards a peak in a number of large countries," he warned.

Arizona, in particular, is seeing disturbing trends in several benchmarks, including the percentage of tests that prove positive for the virus. Arizona's is the highest in the nation.The state's positive test rate is at a seven-day average of 20.4%, well above the national average of 8.4% and the 10% level that public health officials say is a problem. When the positive test rate rises, it means that an outbreak is worsening — not just that more people are getting tested.Amid the global surge, the head of the WHO warned that world leaders must not politicize the outbreak but unite to fight it.

President Donald Trump has criticized the WHO for its early response to the outbreak and what he considers its excessive praise of China, where the outbreak began, though his own administration’s response in the U.S. has come under attack. Trump has threatened to end all U.S. funding for the WHO.

Trump received extensive criticism for downplaying the threat of the virus and his handling of the pandemic over the past months.

The president held a campaign rally over the weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma, despite criticism from public health officials over a mass gathering during the accelerating pandemic. Attendees were required to agree to a coronavirus liability waiver that absolved the president’s campaign of any legal responsibility should rally-goers fall ill.

At the rally, the president spoke about the country’s coronavirus testing efforts, saying that he had discouraged widespread testing in the U.S., which runs contrary to the urging of global health experts and those within his own administration. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’ They test and they test.”

Companies around the world are racing to find a vaccine, and there is fierce debate over how to make sure it is distributed fairly. WHO's special envoy on COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, said he believes it will be “2 1/2 years until there will be vaccine for everybody in the world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.